A Brussels court has ruled that the Brussels-Capital Region's Parking Agency, parking.brussels, must alter its practices after ruling its automated parking control camera vehicles indirectly discriminate against people with a disability.
The parking enforcement agency’s vehicles drive along the streets of the capital region, automatically photographing parked vehicles in order to detect vehicles that have failed to pay for parking.
However, the cameras do not detect disabled badges and permits left in vehicles. As such, disabled people in the Belgian capital have been receiving parking fines despite having the right to park for free everywhere.
The Unia Centre for Equal Opportunities and the Wallonia-Brussels Accessibility Collective (CaWAB) filed a motion demanding the cessation of this practice, arguing it is “discriminatory” and “constitutes an unjustified burden for people with disabilities.”
“With the arrival of ‘scan-cars’ in several cities, Unia and the CaWAB have noted and denounced that the solutions proposed do not make it possible to avoid the undue sending of fines to holders of the European card for disabled parking,” the groups said in a press release.
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One individual received nine fines within the space of 11 month, despite clearly displaying his disabled parking badge.
The Brussels Tribunal of First Instances concluded that the parking agency must adapt its practices within four months to ensure that individuals with the disability parking cards do not receive fines. The parking enforcement agency must also reimburse one of the victims €1,300.
The disability advocacy groups celebrated the tribunal’s ruling. “Unia and CaWAB are delighted that the justice system has reminded parking.brussels that it is now allowed to infringe, in its carrying out of parking control, the rights granted to people with disabilities.”